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British Element Trieste Force 1945 - 1954
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My visit to Holland.

I believe I have mentioned already that I will be attending the celebrations in Holland for the liberation of the area of the Leudal zone. Here is the programme of events for next week. Sorry it's a bit long but needs must.

Monday November 13
Arrival at Eindhoven Airport (FR 3234) and transport to hotel Oranjerie in Roermond. We do not know who will pick you up yet, but rest assured, there will be somebody there, it could even be me! After check in transport to De Abdij. Dinner at 19.30 and after that transport back to hotel Oranjerie Roermond. (Driver has been communicated and will be Jan Cuijpers)

Tuesday November 14 (Dress: small medals)
08.15 hours Transport to Horn for breakfast at de Abdij
(driver: Johan Aalders 0031651299246)
08.30 hours Breakfast at hotel de Abdij in Horn
09.30 hours Coach trip to Margraten
16.00 hours Return at hotel de Abdij from Margraten
18.15 hours Transport to Sterrebsoch Thorn
19.00 hours Dinner at Sterrebosch Thorn; hosted by Proteion
21.30 hours Transport to own hotel (driver Johan)

Wednesday November 15 (Dress: small medals)
08.15 hours Transport to Horn for breakfast at de Abdij
(driver: Hugo Levels 0031652542715)
08.30 hours Breakfast at hotel de Abdij in Horn
09.30 hours Free programme
12.00 hours Lunch at hotel de Abdij in Horn
13.15 hours Transport to Ursula school in Heythuysen
13.30 hours Start programme at Ursula school Heythuysen
16.00 hours Transport from Ursula Heythuysen to hotel Houben Nunhem
17.30 hours Dinner at hotel Houben
20.00 hours Transport to own hotel

Thursday November 16 (Memorial Service at Monument of Tolerance)
(Dress: big medals)
08.00 hours Light breakfast in own hotel
10.30 hours Transport to De Abdij (Driver Gerrit v. Keulen 003140184448
11.00 hours Brunch at hotel de Abdij in Horn
12.45 hours Transport to Monument of Tolerance in Haelen (Har Nijsen)
14.00 hours International Service at the Monument of Tolerance
16.00 hours Drinks at St. Elisabethshof (next to the Monument)
18.00 hours Dinner at St. Elisabethshof, hosted by the mayor of Leudal
21.30 hours Transport to own hotel

There is a ceremony of laying of wreaths after the International Service and I shall be laying a wreath of poppies on behalf of the 53rd Welsh Division. I have done this now each year since 2014. Each year during the International Service there has been a fly-past by a Spitfire from the Department of Historic Flights of the Royal Dutch Airforce but this year apparenty the fly-past will be by two Harvards from the same department (weather always, of course, permitting). A note on the letter of invitation states that once again the organising foundation has succeeded in bringing a group of veterans, people from the resistance and Jewish victims of the Holocaust to Leudal for this ceremony. (Should anyone be interested there is a website available for further information).

The Monument of Tolerance was erected in 2001 as a reminder of the war years 1940-1945 and of the more than 700 miitary of 11 nationaities who lost their lives in thw Leudal area. Over 3000 local people, mainly males of all working ages were deported by the German forces for forced labour in factories in Germany during the war. I was present in the area with the 2nd Bn The Monmouthshire Regiment from October to December 1944 when we were then transferred down to Louvain as part of the defence force against the German final push to try and take Antwerp which led to the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge.

Friday November 17
Breakfast at own hotel Oranjerie; free time
13.30 hours Transport to Eindhoven Airport (Flight at 16.10 hours)
Driver: Casper van Oyen 0031475582082 (home number)

Ria Schmieder 0031 64258 2446 Huub Stollman 0031 62367 8701
All of the above is at the expense of the organisers which are the Foundation Herdenkingsmonument Militairen and the Mayor and Aldermen of the Leudal Municipality.

Re: My visit to Holland.

In the programme above on the Wednesday afternoon we will go to the Ursula School in Heythusen. There we will be introduced to the pupils and will sit at tables with two or three each of the pupils and tell them about our experiences in the war and after.
One of the teachers will also be my guest at the dinners each evening.

Re: My visit to Holland.

On our last night,after the ceremonies at the Monument of Tollerance - where I layed a wreath of poppies dedicated to the 53rd Welsh Division, we had an afternoon of drinks and "getting to know" your 'neighbour'. There were over 100 people present. A lot of them from previous years whom I already knew and could greet like old friends. I got nobbled by a Colonel from the Princess of something Dutch regiment because I was wearing all my medals and he wanted to know about my experiences in the area during October and November 1944. Drinks were Free so we shared a couple of glasses of red. Afterwards, we had a formal sit-down dinner hosted this year by the Deputy Mayor. The Mayor, whom I know well, was laid up at home with the flu, of all things. I was seated at the main table with on my left a very collequacious lady and her husband. I know her husband from previous visits. He has a row of medals on his chest about a foot long, and wears a lanyard on his left shoulder. I said, "I'm a bit curious. Why all the medals?" He said he was the Chief Engineer for most of Holland in the Forces. Can I ask what rank you held? He replied, "I was a Major General in the Army". And for three years I have been joking and talking with him as a friend in the organisation. Wonderful people to spend a week with. We went on a bus trip to the American Military Cemetery where there happens to be the grave of the first American military man to be killed in the 2nd World War in action over Europe when his plane was shot down in a raid performed by group of British and American planes. I think his name was Lynch. Very moving visit to see the hundreds of graves of the Americans. And apparently they are still finding bodies all over Europe and taking the remains to this cemetery.
From there we moved on to the highest point in Holland. No Holland's not all flat! This spot is about 760 metres up in the world. AND..... you can stand with one foot in Germany, one foot in Holland and - if you have three legs - your third foot will be in Belgium.
Photos, yes. And I have one special but do not know how to post it here so will turn to Harry and get him to do it for me if he thinks it is the kind of photo we should have in these
pages. She is the main reason I go on this trip. She is the Deputy Headmistress of the St Ursulas school which we visit to talk to the pupils about our experiences.

Re: My visit to Holland.

Larry has sent me three photos of his visit. This is one of them; he is clearly a slve of duty.

Re: My visit to Holland.

If she is a slave-master I'm more than willing to be a slave. Anyone know of a way to lose about 60 years?????? And could folks notice that on my jacket lapel there is the badge of the BETFOR Association. It brings forth the occasional question.